Premier Frank Hsieh (
"The government is under a lot of pressure for injecting more money into the project, but it's worth it," Hsieh told reporters after the 15-minute ride. "It would be regrettable to give up on it now."
The train departed from Tainan Station, headed northward to Tainan County's Liouchia (六甲) Township and then south to Dashe (大社) Township in Kaohsiung County before returning to the station.
The Taiwan High-Speed Rail Corp (THSRC), builder of the high-speed rail system, reached its target of running the bullet train at a top speed of 315kph on Oct. 30.
THSRC chairwoman Nita Ing (
"This is a milestone for us," Ing said, adding that her first experience on the train was very good.
Ing said that THSRC will hold a provisional board meeting next week and a shareholder meeting in January -- instead of May -- to discuss the approval of three new board directors representing the government, as required by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
THSRC expanded the number of its board directors from 12 to 15 seats last month after the government decided to pump another NT$7.5 billion (US$223 million) into the project. That amount included NT$4.5 billion from the China Aviation Development Foundation and NT$3 billion from China Technical Consultant Inc.
The government currently has two seats in the board but hopes to obtain three more. However, whether the government will be able to occupy the three new seats remains to be negotiated, said Arthur Chiang (江金山), vice president of THSRC's administration division.
The government's holding in THSRC jumped from 11.89 percent to about 37 percent, but 19 percent of that was through purchasing preferred shares, which confer no voting rights, Chiang said.
Ing declined to reveal how much capital the company still needs to complete the project's construction, saying a new fund-raising plan will be released by the middle of the month.
The one-year delay of the project is estimated to cost the company an additional NT$19.3 billion, Chiang said.
Ing announced on Sept. 8 that the firm's board of directors decided to reschedule the opening of the high-speed railway to Oct. 31 next year, blaming delays in the construction of the core mechanical and electrical systems.
THSRC is currently negotiating compensation for the delays with the Taiwan Shinkansen Corp (TSC, 台灣新幹線), contractor for the core system's construction. Yesterday, TSC chairman Takaomi Goto said he hopes the negotiation will be completed by the end of the month.
"I think who should bear the responsibility for the delay is still an open question," Goto told the Taipei Times yesterday.
Becoming familiar with the Japanese-designed bullet train system has taken a lot of time, especially for the THSRC, whose engineers are mostly US and European, Goto said.
Despite the setback in exporting the system for the first time, from a business point of view, the Japanese consortium will still look for other countries in which to introduce the bullet train, Goto added.
The consortium of seven Japanese companies includes Mitsui Corp, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Corp, Marubeni Corp, Sumitomo Corp, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Toshiba Electric.
As of the end of September, THSRC said it had completed 89.7 percent of the project, according to a company release. The core mechanical and electrical system which THSRC is responsible for is 66 percent completed, while the project's track and station construction are 83 percent and 93.1 percent finished, the release added.
The Tainan station yesterday seemed far from ready to serve customers, with many areas still blocked off.
THSRC plans to test the track in Taoyuan and other areas in the north starting in January, Ing said.
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did
The military last week sent “no small number” of Marine Corps officers to the Pratas Islands (Dongsha Island, 東沙群島) following reports of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) drill targeting the islands scheduled for this month. In an interview with Hong Kong’s Bauhinia Magazine published on Saturday last week, PLA National Defense University professor Li Daguang (李大光) confirmed that the Chinese army was planning to stage a simulated invasion of the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea this month. The islands comprise three atolls, with Pratas Island, at 1.74km2, being the largest. They lie southwest of Taiwan proper in the South
‘CORRUPTION’: One DPP lawmaker and two KMT legislators were held incommunicado, while former NPP chairman Hsu Yung-ming was released on bail in the Pacific Sogo case The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that three lawmakers be held incommunicado amid a probe into allegedly bribery relating to an ownership dispute over Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). The three are Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) of the Democratic Progressive Party, and Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟) of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT). Also held incommunicado were Su’s office director Yu Hsueh-yang (余學洋) and Sufin’s office director Ting Fu-hua (丁復華), as well as Kuo Ke-ming (郭克銘), a political lobbyist and general manager of Knowledge International Consultancy (是知管理顧問公司). The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Friday raided the offices of six incumbent and former